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Iran hopes to start building 2nd N-plant in 2014

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi has expressed hope that ground will be broken for the nation’s second nuclear power plant in early 2014 with Russian cooperation.

“We hope to see the construction of the country’s second nuclear power station start at the beginning of the [Iranian calendar] year 1393 (starting March 21, 2014) by the Russians,” said Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), in a televised interview on Tuesday.

Under a protocol signed between Tehran and Moscow, said Salehi, power plants with a capacity of up to 4,000 megawatts could be constructed in Iran. On September 23, Iran officially took over from Russia the first unit of its first 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr for two years. The initial construction of the Bushehr facility began in 1975 by German companies, but the work was halted following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

After signing a deal on the construction of nuclear plants in 1992, Iran and Russia reached an agreement in 1995 to complete the power plant. However, the completion of the project was delayed several times due to a number of technical and financial problems until 2011.

Referring to a recent agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the AEOI chief said the deal would be implemented during the course of the next three months when the next steps will also be discussed.

Iran and the IAEA on Monday agreed on a road map for more cooperation and signed a joint statement in that regard. Under the deal, Iran will voluntarily allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water plant and the Gachin mine in Bandar Abbas. 

Uranium mining operations at Gachin started in 2004. The first consignment of yellow cake was shipped from Gachin mine to Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in December 2010.